But if Visitor Parking was in Side Streets ….

… It would be a rat run 

Creating visitor parking in side streets near the main road would make it possible for motorists already passing shops on the main road to stop, within 50 to 100 metres or so, and shop.  And then leave the same way, from the same street, back to the main route.  So it is difficult to see how this would encourage rat-run conditions.  If this were a concern, the far end of the side street could be width-restricted so only micro-cars were able to pass through, meaning any local motorist residents parking in that side street could only exit the side street on to the main road.  It would be difficult to argue against this, unless those motorist residents needed a regular rat-run route of their own through local side streets …

… There would be excess traffic

Concerns with through traffic could be dealt with as above (with width-restrictions, so only micro-cars could pass at the far end).

Would there be more traffic on the main road? This rests on the contention that visitor parking for the high street would create noticeably additional journeys than are already made on the main road for other reasons.  Because purchases from the high-street are usually incidental, rather than strategic weekly shops, this makes it likely that motoring visits to the high street are usually done as part of journeys already being made, such as to work, the school run, or even a supermarket shop.  Whereas a full supermarket shop is usual the main reason for a driving journey and its attendant pollution being made.

If side street traffic numbers became a problem, it would be straightforward to react as follows:

  1. Restrict access to electric cars and/or micro-cars from the main road.
  2. If excess traffic remained unmanageable, introducing visitor-parking pricing at a level which achieves a target occupancy, for example, an aim to have 30% of the visitor spaces filled during trading hours of main road shops.  The exact target occupancy percentage would vary depending on location and how many empty shops there were locally, all of which should be regularly measured.

… putting visitor parking in the side street would mean you couldn’t load from the main road

As TfL remind us regularly, loading bays are not the same as visitor parking bays.  The reason the two are conflated is that both motorists and TfL Police grasp that there is insufficient visitor parking provided in general, across London.  So the Police look the other way, and motorists intuitively grasp this will happen, and misuse the loading bay spaces.

There is no harm in including dedicated loading bays on the main road, and enforcing these strictly, making it loudly and widely known that there is plentiful designated visitor parking within 100 metres or so of any main road shopping parade.

Car Ownership Trends since 2013

There have been a lot of assertions made on Twitter and in local government documents that car ownership is falling in central London.  Arguably, the discussion should be whether the current level of car ownership is harmful to policy goals on obesity, pollution and road traffic collision reductions, and what the limit should be.  However, it is also important to know in which direction we are headed.

The elephant in the room is the effect of the “Great Recession” of 2008 on car purchasing, and whether the reduction in car ownership spanning years either side of 2008 is part of a wider trend of car ownership reduction which transcends that effect.  Arguably, it is for those who claim a fall in car ownership to demonstrate that a fall in car ownership over that time frame was not simply part of the general rationalisation of spending which took place, and which some argue is still a constraint on normal economic patterns, such as wage growth.

Here, I will focus just on car ownership, and leave the Recession as being noted as an unquantified factor in restricting car ownership increases, approximately from 2006 to 2013.

These graphs are generated from the VEH0122 spreadsheets available for download from gov.uk.

Camberwell Car Ownership No’s since 2013:

SE5since2013

The trend-line shows unmistakable growth as a trend since 2013 bottoming out, post-Recession, increasing car ownership from 7,900 to 8,500 along the trend-line.  The question is, is this a “cat’s bounce”? We are entering a fourth year of straight growth, so this is unlikely.  However, let’s keep an open mind.  What has happened nationally since 2013?

Total Car Ownership No’s (Everything) Since 2013

Everythingsince2013

There is a pronounced trend of growth nationally over the same period.  This is steeper than in Camberwell, which might suggest that land scarcity vs number of cars owned is a factor.  Still, no doubt about the general trend.  Let’s look at Camberwell since 2010 – the period used for claims that “car ownership is falling in Camberwell”:

Camberwell Car Ownership No’s Since 2010

SE5since2010

The trend-line shows an approximate fall from 8,300 to 8,200 over the source of six years, which represents shrinkage of 1.2%. Not per year, -1.2% over six years.

Apart from this negligible figure there are a number of explanations for why this does not represent a decisive shift away from car ownership, including the overall shrinkage of the local economy in Camberwell, with mass conversions of commercial uses to residential.  This led to a depletion of spending power so that, for example, the Camberwell business community was unable to qualify for the BID application process, and was graded as unviable.

Total Car Ownership Numbers (Everything) Since 2010

EverythingSince2010

It’s true that Camberwell did not grow at the same rate as nationally, from 2010 to 2016, as can be seen from the above picture.  However, this does not change the fact that -1.2% over six years does not represent a trend of falling car ownership.

 

Draft CPZ Consultation

Southwark and Lambeth Council CPZ Consultation
for All Residents, Businesses & Local Amenities
(including pedestrians)

Creating a Fairer Kerbside

1. What do you think the main purpose of a CPZ should be?

  • to make it easier for local motorists to store their cars locally
  • to make it easier and more pleasant for residents to walk and cycle
  • to balance the transport needs of local shops, churches, schools and visitor attractions, with those of local motorists
  • to reduce car ownership
  • Other (please specify)

2. Which kerbside use would you prefer near you? Please rank the following from 1-12, with 1 being your most preferred option:

  • Local motorist car storage
  • Short-stay visitor parking
  • Commuter parking (all-day)
  • Exercise space on low-impact surface
  • Secure cycle storage for local residents
  • Cycle racks for everyone
  • Cycle Quietway
  • Santander Cycle Hire Point
  • Wider pavements
  • Hedges, trees and other wayfaring plants
  • Edible vegetables and herbs for locals and passers-by
  • Other (please specify)

3. Please choose one of the following for what best characterises your local walkable area:

  • Residential-only
  • Mixed-use
  • Shopping, community or leisure use area

4. Some people think cars stored too near high street shops and visitor attractions are damaging to the shops and attractions. Do you agree with the idea of a radius for every shopping area, within which there should be no stored cars?

YES/NO

5. If you answered YES to question 4, do you agree that there should be outer rings past this radius, so that certain kerbside uses are nearer to the radius than others?

YES/NO

6. If you answered YES to question 5, please rank the following from 1-12 in order of preference, with 1 being the nearest kerbside use to the shops:

  • Local motorist car storage
  • Short-stay visitor parking
  • Commuter parking (all-day)
  • Exercise space on low-impact surface
  • Secure cycle storage for local residents
  • Cycle racks for everyone
  • Cycle Quietway
  • Santander Cycle Hire Point
  • Wider pavements
  • Hedges, trees and other wayfaring plants
  • Edible vegetables and herbs for locals and passers-by
  • Other (please specify)

7. How big do you think the radius should be for your local shops, within which there should be no stored cars?

  • 10 metres
  • 50 metres
  • Other (please specify)

8. If you have local shops which are empty, and we have already provided ample cycle racks and well-designed pedestrian space, which option would you prefer of the following three:

  • Increase visitor parking to attempt to increase the shops viability
  • Allow the owner of the building to convert the shop to residential
  • CPO the shop, and let it out at the highest rent offered, even if this is £1 per month

9. If you chose visitor parking for any of the above options, what do you think would be a fair ratio of visitor parking to shops:

  • 1:1 (1 space for every shop)
  • 1:2 (1 space for every two shops)
  • Other (please specify)

10. If you chose visitor parking for any of the above options, what type of short-stay visitor parking would you like to see?

  • zero emission cars only (e.g. electric/hydrogen)
  • micro-cars only (e.g. Smart cars)
  • zero emission or Smart cars
  • Any type of car